In a move that may hint at the outlines of a new-look AOL (NYSE: TWX), Bebo’s European VP and MD Kate Burns is moving over to head AOL’s European ad sales ops, just before new AOL CEO Tim Armstrong completes his 100-day company review.
AllThingsD already reported in May Bebo would be moved in to a new “AOL Ventures” unit, after president Joanna Shields quit. Burns had been the de facto Bebo boss in Shields’ absence, and Bebo doesn’t yet have a replacement lined up.
Speculation will center on whether new Armstrong will put Bebo back on the auction block but, with Shields having threaded Bebo throughout the People Networks division she created for AOL after the $850 million acquisition, divorcing Bebo from mothership may not be so easy.
Burns, herself a former Google (NSDQ: GOOG) regional European MD who also had a brief stint as Dailymotion UK MD, will report to Jeff Levick, whom ex-Googler Armstrong appointed from Google in April as head of advertising and strategy. Her role will encompass Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
So Burns will lead AOL’s European sales… doesn’t that mean “Platform-A”, I asked? The release doesn’t name AOL’s current advertising business as such, and a spokesperson was also hesitant to use the moniker, not wanting to prejudge the outcome of new Armstrong’s review, which is due to complete in the next two weeks. Update: Burns will essentially replace Platform-A international head Brendan Condon, who is leaving London for an unspecified role in New York.
Overhauling Platform-A, which houses the many ad firms AOL has picked up on the acquisition trail, would be quite a turnaround, just a year after it reorganized around three key divisions – Mediaglow (content), Platform-A (ads), Platform Networks (social). But there’s no indication as yet.